Opening Bell: 05.20.10

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Trading-Firm Breakdowns Accompanied Market Crash (WSJ)

Citadel Investment Group stopped taking orders for a number of securities, according to an internal email and people familiar with the matter. Shortly after the market plunged, Citadel asked clients, including discount brokers such as E*Trade Financial Corp. and TD Ameritrade Holding Corp., to route orders elsewhere. Knight Capital Group was handling so many orders that one of its computers "just blew up," according to a person familiar with the matter. The breakdown led to a slight delay in handling orders and affected less than 1% of the firm's orders, the person said.

Schäuble sees financial markets out of control (FT)

Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany's finance minister, has warned that the financial markets are "out of control" and called for "effective regulation" to ensure a properly functioning market. In an interview with the Financial Times, Mr Schäuble said markets would not work properly "if the risks and rewards are completely unbalanced". He called for the standardisation of products, regulation of over-the-counter transactions and measures to improve transparency "for all market participants".

Merkel warns markets over ‘honest’ regulation (FT)

“We need the financial industry to be honest with us,” she said at the opening of a high-level conference on financial market regulation in Berlin. “If we don’t get honesty, then we might not do the right thing technically, but we will do the right thing politically.”

Germany's 'desperate' short ban triggers capital flight to Switzerland (Telegraph)

"As a German citizen, I wish to apologise for the stupidity of my government," said Hans Redeker, currency chief at BNP Paribas. He said the CDS ban deprives reserve managers of a crucial hedging tool for non-securitised loans and will scare away global investors needed to soak up Club Med bonds.

Nomura Loan Chief Quits Job For Lifelong Safari Dream (Bloomberg)

“I see guys in banking in their 50s and 60s and I can tell, there’s no passion anymore,” Cortes says in a phone interview from Hong Kong, his home for the last 14 years. “My boss pointed out the next five years are the best income-generating ones of my life, but at the end of the day, it’s not all about money.” After starting luxury-tour organizer Asia to Africa Safaris with Standard Chartered Plc banker Victor Dizon in late 2002, Cortes will move to Cape Town in time for next month’s 2010 FIFA World Cup. He will pursue a personal passion and serve a growing base of customers seeking something different to another vacation in Europe or North America.

Paintings Worth $600 Million Stolen From Paris Museum (WSJ)

The paintings were "Le pigeon aux petits-pois" (The Pigeon with the Peas) by Pablo Picasso, "La Pastorale" (Pastoral) by Henri Matisse, "L'olivier près de l'Estaque" (Olive Tree near Estaque) by Georges Braque, "La femme a l'éventail" (Woman with a Fan) by Amedeo Modigliani; and "Nature-mort aux chandeliers" (Still Life with Chandeliers) by Fernand Léger. Naturally, all art collectors are suspects.

Wall St.’s Chosen Few in Obama’s Good Graces (DealBook)

Brian Moynihan, James Gorman, Kenneth Chenault, and some UBS guy (Robert Wolf) were the only execs invited to Wednesday's state dinner. No Jamie or Lloyd. Not even a Vikram. (Ken Lewis did try, unsuccessfully, to pull a Salahi.)

Whistle Blowers Become Investment Option For Hedge Funds (NYT)

“As soon as the I.R.S. begins paying whistle-blowers, more people will realize that this is a whole new class of assets to be monetized,” Mr. Desser said. “It will be limited in size, because only a percentage of whistle-blowers will have incentive to sell. But for investors there is potential here for outsized returns.”

`Complex Prime' Is The New Subprime for Struggling U.K. Mortgage Borrowers (Bloomberg)

U.K. mortgage lenders are offering loans to “almost prime” and “complex prime” borrowers with “minor historic credit issues” who may have experienced financial “blips.” They don’t use the word subprime. It's a dirty little word.

Dubai World in $23.5 billion debt deal with core banks (Reuters)

The deal, which includes no new money from the government and is broadly in line with proposals made in March, must still be agreed by banks outside the core negotiating panel, which holds 60 percent of the exposure, Dubai World said on Thursday. "We are not entirely happy, but we are in a no-choice situation. Under the circumstances, this seems the best deal possible, even though it is not entirely satisfactory," said a banker at a Gulf-based lender outside the core group.

M.T.A. to End Relationship With Goldman Sachs (City Room)

It's you.

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Opening Bell: 02.22.12

Fitch Downgrades Greece (WSJ) Fitch Ratings downgraded Greece's credit rating to C from triple-C Wednesday after confirmation of the country's second bailout package, which includes a debt exchange that will force bondholders to take a loss on their holdings of Greek debt. "The rating action is in line with Fitch's statement on 6 June 2011, which outlined its rating approach to a sovereign-debt exchange," the ratings company said. Fitch said it will lower its rating on the country's sovereign bonds to "restricted default" upon the completion of the debt exchange aimed at reducing the country's debt burden.

Opening Bell: 2.2.16

Veteran dealmakers turn activist investors; Alphabet profit rises; Citigroup says be cool re China; Domino's Pizza Delivery Man Stabs Customer; and more.

Opening Bell: 07.12.12

Fed Weighs More Stimulus (WSJ) A few Fed officials were ready to move aggressively when the Fed met in June and several others said they might want to take new measures if the recovery loses momentum or their growth and employment forecasts are cut once again. That is according to minutes of the central bank's June 19-20 meeting, which were released Wednesday with their usual three-week lag. Gold to Hit $2,000 by Year-End on More Fed Easing: Merrill (CNBC) "We think that $2,000 an ounce is sort of the right number,” Francisco Blanch, Head of Global Commodity & Multi-Asset Strategy Research at the investment bank, said Thursday. Regulators’ Shake-Up Seen as Missed Bid to Police JPMorgan (NYT) After the financial crisis, regulators vowed to overhaul supervision of the nation’s largest banks. As part of that effort, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in mid-2011 replaced virtually all of its roughly 40 examiners at JPMorgan Chase to bolster the team’s expertise and prevent regulators from forming cozy ties with executives, according to several current and former government officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity. But those changes left the New York Fed’s front-line examiners without deep knowledge of JPMorgan’s operations for a brief yet critical time, said those people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because there is a federal investigation of the bank. Forced to play catch-up, the examiners struggled to understand the inner workings of a powerful investment unit, those officials said. At first, the examiners sought basic information about the group, including the name of the unit’s core trading portfolio. Neb. Man Jailed for Bomb Threat on Job Application (AP) the Legacy 272 Lounge employee who reviewed 38-year-old Jason Dornhoff's application last Thursday called police when he read the threat that closed with: "If you be quiet and help me, you won't die." Police arrested Dornhoff, of Heartwell, Neb., at gunpoint and searched his truck, but didn't find any bomb. Court documents say Dornhoff told police he uses methamphetamines and went to the restaurant hoping to find a way to fulfill his sexual fantasies. Clock Is Ticking On Crisis Charges (WSJ) Federal laws under which the Securities and Exchange Commission usually goes after alleged fraud and other misdeeds have a five-year statute of limitations. The five-year limit is causing SEC officials to race to file lawsuits in some cases and ask lawyers representing the targets of certain investigations to give the agency more time, according to people close to the investigation. The SEC intends to file charges against firms and people involved in the creation of a $1.6 billion mortgage-bond deal called Delphinus CDO 2007-1, people close to the investigation said. Credit Suisse Clients Targets Of Tax Probe (WSJ) German tax inspectors in recent weeks have been raiding the homes of Credit Suisse Group AG clients suspected of evading taxes, according to bank and German government officials. The investigation is centering on about 5,000 clients who between 2005 and 2009 allegedly bought insurance policies at a Bermuda-based subsidiary of the Swiss bank. In These Knife Fights, Only Pride Gets Wounded (WSJ) Donavon Phillips windmilled his arms. He hopped a few times to get the blood flowing in his legs. A light sweat formed under his black-and-red jersey—just the right dew. "You can't go into this cold, because it's an all-out sport," said Mr. Phillips, pulling his right arm across his chest. He was warming up for a cutthroat event: the 10th annual World Championship Cutting Competition. It takes razor-sharp focus to be a cutting champ, along with a blade that resembles a bulkier, sharper version of a kitchen meat cleaver. Mr. Phillips is one of a few who have helped make a sport out of demonstrating they can swiftly, flawlessly slice through a dozen water bottles or chop a rolling tennis ball in half. Having won the national title in May, he is a favorite on the cutting circuit. SEC Votes To Require Consolidated Audit Trail For Markets (Bloomberg) “A consolidated audit trail that accurately tracks orders throughout their lifecycle and identifies the broker-dealers handling them will provide us with an unprecedented ability to effectively oversee the markets we regulate,” said SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro. The rule is a “great leap forward,” she said. BofA Execs Dodge A Bullet (NYP) Bank of America won a federal court ruling dismissing claims against former Chief Executive Officer Ken Lewis and others in a securities-fraud lawsuit over the bank’s use of an electronic mortgage registry. Buffett: US Economic Growth Slowing, US Slipping "Pretty Fast" (CNBC) Despite the slowdown, Buffett says the U.S. economy is still doing better than "virtually any other big economy" around the world. New York Fed to Release Libor Documents Friday, Official Says (Reuters) The Federal Reserve Bank of New York will release on Friday documents showing it took "prompt action" four years ago to highlight problems with the benchmark interest rate known as Libor and to press for reform, an official at the regional U.S. central bank said on Wednesday. 'Con artists' scammed Hamptons homeowners by turning rentals into teen party pads: officials (NYP) Two real-estate con artists made hundreds of thousands of dollars by renting homes in the Hamptons and using them as post-prom and graduation-party crash pads for raucous teens, authorities said. Officials and outraged homeowners said the front man, 25-year-old Lee Hnetinka, of Jericho, would rent the mansions saying he intended to use them for his own family reunions. “He said it was his aunt having a party at his house,” said Lucy Sachs, 64, who rented her family’s East Hampton home to Hnetinka for $30,000 a month. When a neighbor called on June 8 to tell her that a “party bus with a disco ball had arrived” at Sachs’ place in the middle of the night, she rushed over, confused. What Sachs found was a houseful of nearly 100 teens smoking and drinking in the century-old building. Hnetinka allegedly teamed up with Leslie Jennemann (both inset), a Hamptons real-estate agent who in 2002 was convicted of running over and killing a migrant potato picker on her way home from a party, Southampton officials said...The suspects charged students $355 each for three days at the house, homeowners said. Scarlato estimated that the pair brought in $60,000 to $80,000 a weekend and had as many as 10 rentals. Another East Hampton homeowner, Eli Braha, rented to Hnetinka and became suspicious after a landscaper called to ask about all the trash and as many as 30 inflatable beds in the home.